Chicago's Tuskeegee syphilis experiment... Children being used as guinea pigs by CPS

While surfing the Internet last Tuesday (February 26, 2008), I came across a story about the Tuskegee Syphilis Project. This infamous project was a study over a 40-year period, 1932-1972, of 399 Black men with syphilis. They were not aware that they had syphilis (they were told that they had “bad blood”). The study became notorious because it was conducted without due concern for the subjects involved. By 1947, penicillin had become the standard treatment for syphilis; however the Tuskegee scientists withheld penicillin and information about penicillin so as to continue the study.

After reading about the Tuskegee (which some experts called the most infamous biomedical research study in U. S. history) I attended the Board of Education meeting on Wednesday, February 27, 2008. Large numbers of people were there to protest the latest “shell game” that the Board is rolling out in their continuing saga to make it appear that they are trying to improve the schools. One scene really struck me when a young lady from Orr High School spoke. Renaissance 2010 has continued and intensified the CPS program of closing schools in the Black community, privatize them and turn them over to white folk to run. Orr was among the first to receive this magic cure. Since the very beginning of these efforts, I have been pointing out that historically, the CPS has never followed through on any new initiatives.

Bill Gates money has been helping to fuel 2010 express. However, Gates spokespersons have voiced some reservations about taking large schools and breaking them up into several small schools. They say this approach does not work very well. Anyone who bothers to check the academic performance of these small schools can see for themselves. The bundling of several small schools at the Orr High School sites is the first to fall. By their actions to discontinue this farce at Orr the CPS leaders are giving tacit acknowledgement to failure, though they would never actually admit it. The young lady from Orr Stated “CPS doesn’t care about us, we don’t matter.” She said, “We’re not guinea pigs.” We are not guinea pigs. Even the Chicago Sun-Times, which for the past several years has basically served as cheer leader for the dictatorship which CPS has become, stated that the Orr experiment has failed. It has gone through reconstitution, intervention, and of course, small schools. Subjects of experiments are called guinea pigs. For the Orr students it is a very legitimate question. It is too bad that none of the Black people in leadership positions have raised these questions.

If we give the CPS leaders the benefit of the doubt and assume that they want to solve the problems, it is clear that they haven’t a clue. In the entire roll of the dice gimmick solutions they have prescribed, when have they defined the problems their solutions were intended to solve? Never. The solution to Orr, Harper and the other schools caught up in the latest gimmick, Turn Around, is to change the staff. Apparently, they know that the staff is the problem. How do they know? Have they had a comprehensive, effective evaluation of the staff? Who at the Central Office would know how to evaluate teachers and administrators? Why then do they feel comfortable in continuing to use our children, our most precious resource, our future, as guinea pigs? Because we continue to allow it

We have just concluded another Black History Month. I am sure that for those who participated, some where along the way they encountered Frederick Douglas When I think of our condition here in Chicago as it relates to our schools and our children, I am reminded of some words from Douglas that are just as relevant today as they were during his time, he said: “Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have the exact measure of the injustice and wrong which will be imposed on them.”

Finally, last night I saw part of a program about the turmoil here in Chicago during the 1968 Democratic National Convention. All of those people in the streets protesting the war in Viet Nam. Out of this and other protest about the war, a slogan was born that I wish we would use some times to protect and advocate for our children. When the schools in our communities, and mostly only in our communities, are being closed privatized and turned over to people from outside our community; just once it would be nice to here a loud, resounding, deep throated: “HELL NO WE WON’T GO!” 


Add your own comment (all fields are necessary)

Substance readers:

You must give your first name and last name under "Name" when you post a comment at We are not operating a blog and do not allow anonymous or pseudonymous comments. Our readers deserve to know who is commenting, just as they deserve to know the source of our news reports and analysis.

Please respect this, and also provide us with an accurate e-mail address.

Thank you,

The Editors of Substance

Your Name

Your Email

What's your comment about?

Your Comment

Please answer this to prove you're not a robot:

3 + 2 =